I have a piece up at The Daily Beast on how taxi cartels are attempting to use a tragic accident to undermine Uber and other ridesharing services. Here's an excerpt:
On the evening of December 31, 2013, Huan Kuang and her two young children were crossing the street in San Francisco's Tenderloin District when a Honda SUV made a careening right turn and ran
them over in the intersection. Ms. Kuang suffered multiple injuries, including a skull fracture, and two and a half months later she still has trouble walking. The skin on one side of five-year-old Anthony Liu's face was scraped off, which will leave permanent scarring. Six-year-old Sofia Liu sustained severe trauma from the impact and died hours later in the hospital. Ms. Kuang and her husband, Ang Liu, are recent Chinese immigrants and unemployed restaurant workers with no means to pay their significant hospital bills.
Accidents of this sort are a terribly common occurrence. Cars kill on average 12 pedestrians every day in the U.S., and in 2013, Sofia Liu was one of 21 peoplefatally struck by vehicles in San Francisco. She was also the second person killed by a car in one of the city's crosswalks that very day.
The tragic death of Sofia Liu, and the maiming of her brother and mother, has drawn national media attention because at the time of the crash the driver of the vehicle, Syed Muzzafar, was working for Uber, a company that's made ordering a car service so convenient that it's upending the taxi business in cities around the world. On January 27, the Kuang-Liu family sued Uber in San Francisco Superior Court for damages related to the accident.